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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Fundamentals of Graphic Design by California Institute of the Arts

14,311 ratings
3,707 reviews

About the Course

Graphic Design is all around us! Words and pictures—the building blocks of graphic design—are the elements that carry the majority of the content in both the digital world and the printed world. As graphic design becomes more visible and prevalent in our lives, graphic design as a practice becomes more important in our culture. Through visual examples, this course will teach you the fundamental principles of graphic design: imagemaking, typography, composition, working with color and shape... foundational skills that are common in all areas of graphic design practice. I don't just want you to watch a video of someone talking about design, I want you to MAKE design! If you want to be a designer you have to be a maker and a communicator, so this course will offer you lots of opportunities to get your hands dirty with exercises and with more practical projects. At the end of this course you will have learned how to explore and investigate visual representation through a range of image-making techniques; understand basic principles of working with shape, color and pattern; been exposed to the language and skills of typography; and understand and have applied the principles of composition and visual contrast. If you complete the course, along with its optional (but highly recommended) briefs, you will have a core set of graphic design skills that you can apply to your own projects, or to more deeply investigate a specialized area of graphic design. To succeed in this course you will need access to a computer. You can complete this course without one but it will be tougher. Access to, and a beginner's level knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite programs, such as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign will help you, especially if you want to complete the optional briefs....

Top reviews

Apr 17, 2016

very good introductory course. i enjoyed the assignments, they are not overwhelming, easy to start, and the optional ones offer great opportunity to dig little deeper into graphic design fundamentals.

Jul 13, 2020

Excellent course to learn and refresh about fundamentals of design....It applies to all spheres of MULTIMEDIA..Highly recommended... As a suggestion course and notes should be available in PDF format.

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3101 - 3125 of 3,679 Reviews for Fundamentals of Graphic Design

By Susan B T

May 27, 2021

I enjoyed the class very much. Even though I teach design for theatre at a university, I found it inspiring to look at these fundamental concepts through a different lens, and to learn more about typography, about which I had only an instinctual response before.

I wish there was some way to get feedback beyond the peer variety. Of course, we are all still learning and responses are going to be somewhat subjective no matter what, but I was often disappointed to find that the "feedback" I was offered amounted to one word, sometimes just "Hi," so that the learner could check that box and get on with their course.

Still, I got a lot out of this course and I plan to take the others in the Graphic Design specialization right away!

By Georgia C

Jun 29, 2020

Learnt lots throughout this course which was great, thank you! However, sometimes assignments didn't quite make sense, even though there was the forum to help I found myself scrolling through lots of messages trying figure out exactly what was required from the assignments. Also I know it would be impossible with the amount of people enrolled in the course, but I would be nice to have an opinions from qualified designer/someone in charge of the course. Getting expert opinions on how to improve your work would be nice as a lot of the peer review reviews were a couple word answers or I know for me personally I don't know too much about design to tell someone else how they could enhance their work.

By Joseph W

May 8, 2021

This course is designed well with the novice in mind. Michael Worthington does a good job of teaching it in a distance learning format. I like when the two students made art in the first week intro section--it would be ideal to see a bit more of them or other students.

The only detractor from the course for me was the work of a number other students. It felt like for every legitimate assignment I tried to review, there were two or three assignments that were absolute nonsense. The worst offenders were those who just posted whatever--some unrelated picture or photo. In one case, the student's final poster was a simple red dot. (?!) Why are these people paying to waste their time and mine?

By Angela S

Oct 29, 2020

Great course! I enjoyed the peer-review element but the majority of peer submissions were incomplete, plagiarised or not relevant. Most reviewers also had very generic comments on my work, often as though they had not even seen it. Can you please improve this process Coursera!! It’s especially frustrating when you’re giving extra time to review people’s submissions, only to discover there are tons of people on the course who haven’t really done the work and are wasting your time.

On the plus side the course materials and assignments were excellent and really just what I hoped for and needed. Looking forward to the next module in the graphic design specialisation.

By Deborah J C

Oct 4, 2020

The content is very good. Clear and organized. I learned a lot. But the user interface information for submitting assignments was challenging despite mentor 'clarification' which is not clear.

Also, The last assignment instructions need to be rewritten. I saw many interpretations of the parameters causing confusion on peer grading. Luckily I seem to be among those who interpreted as intended but I had to read out 4-5 times before I proceeded and even then I was uncertain. I felt bad for the students who did it wrong. Also the overlap of students who are in a following course we sent out for review. Confusion.

I wish it was a course with an active instructor.

By Heather C

Feb 26, 2019

I like this course. However, I would like to work more with color. I also think having the option to collaborate with other students would inspire people more perhaps, maybe just one group project that can be completed either in the group or also alone but the project is required, if that makes sense?! Students could just choose if they wanted to do it alone or with a partner. I found myself wanting to reach out to fellow students and didn't really have the opportunity so if there was some incentive to do so, that would be neat. But overall great course! And the professors accent made it really easy to want to watch his videos and follow along!

By Rebecca P

Jul 29, 2020

Great introductory course. This course is great for those interested in getting the basic knowledge of graphic design. However, don't expect super helpful reviews on your work. I try to the best of my ability to critique each fellow students submission and give them tips here and there. But, it is a bit frustrating to get peer reviews that do not have any constructive criticism. Reviews like 'Good job' or 'Meets requirements' are not very helpful.

Also, many people submit blank assignments, so there is nothing to review. But all and all, it was an awesome course.

By Teri L

May 24, 2018

Really easy-to-understand course, for people who would like to know the very basic things about graphic design. It teaches you he terminologies to build the base of a beginner designer and shows how it can affect different artworks. This course is encouraging you to simply "MAKE DESIGN!" and bring out your inner-creativity, especially through the somewhat open-ended assignments that only require something like Word, or even your pencils at home as the minimum. Definitely recommend it if you're only coming into the graphics design world :)

By Tin T

Feb 3, 2021

The course is a nice introduction to Graphics Design for a novice. The teacher is great! I like the reviews from students but some reviews are not very helpful as they are not specific. I would like a teacher or someone with deep knowledge in Graphic Design to review for more constructive reviews. I also think it will be nice to get more than 2 reviews. Maybe the students can be advised on which softwares are best to use for specific projects. Overall, the course is great and fun way to learn. Thank you!


Aug 1, 2021

The course is about the fundamentals of graphic design, there are a lot of concepts and the assigments let you practice everything. I believe the course it's very nice for beginners, the concepts and examples are easy to understand. I'll mark 4 stars because I had to deal with reviewing the assigment of some students who didn't put much effort into the course and they uploaded anything else but the homework, probably it would be nice to put some filters before letting other review it.


Jan 5, 2018

It was awesome! This videos' explain was really helpful and easy to understand even though I'm a student who learning English now.

I got many information from this class, but if I say, sometime I couldn't get enough feedback. When I submit my works, no one reply to me, or got just easy comment. I think feedback is most important things about learning something. So I hope that I could get good feedback in this class.

But, still it is really nice program, so I recommend you this class!

By James R N

Feb 13, 2021

The prerecorded video's were informative, and quick to the point. However the course work was amazing! I highly suggest you take the opportunity to complete all the optional briefs as they give you the capacity to really explore and push yourself to create things within set boundaries.

However the peer review system is lacking, I rarely received any feedback more considered that 'well done' or 'I like this..' so be prepared to have the only criticism for your work come from within.

By Viki K

Dec 4, 2015

Michael (the lecturer) did a wonderful job delivering the lessons in an easy to understand manner. The whole course was easy to follow. I don't recall any ambiguity in his teachings and his voice was clear. I also enjoy some of the assignments because I surprise myself by producing some great images. My main problem is the instructions of the assignments that causes a lot of students to be confused (there are many complaints expressed in the Discussion forum).

By guy k

Apr 26, 2019

The course is great. It is very basic, yet still helps to clarify some areas even for a more experienced users. it did make me practice and understand fundamentals. The grading system and requirements can be improved. Maybe a video about reviewing others work will help to give it more importance, and in my opinion all of the assignment should be a requirement for the completion of the course. That might give more weight to the critics of optional assignments.

By Sushen W

Aug 21, 2017

If you wish to be great at something,you need to know the basics first and that's what this course tells you about! All the Fundamentals of Graphic design explained beautifully and so precisely that you will feel yourself getting immersed in this course! Plus the weekly assignment challenges you to showcase what all things you have learnt in that particular week! Don't just think,just hit that enroll button already! Just go for it and enjoy learning! :)

By Linda L

Jun 13, 2021

I enjoyed working on the projects. The content was well delivered. The peer rated assignments are a first for me. Not everyone would have the ability to analyse your work like that of a teacher. The student is required to work on their projects and develop the skills required. It is hard to know if a teacher was actually present or not. Most of my feedback was positive, however, a language barrier was problematic in some instances.

By Gabriella P

Oct 16, 2017

It was fantastic in the fact that the content taught was clear and informative.

The only problem that I had was so many of the projects (although optional) were peer reviewed. My grades relied on other people's ability to evaluate my work which on one occasion caused me to get a grade that I felt was not fair or accurate. It would have been a lot better if there was more tutor/student interaction - there was none at all.

By Muskan G

Feb 2, 2021

Although the concepts taught in the course are for complete beginner, which helped my case but I realised while completing the course that external knowledge about softwares and techniques of drawing and sketching are pivotal in understanding or rather performing the assignments asked in a way that execution of your work becomes easy, so that the thought process could be reflected transparently in the assignments.

By Daria D

Aug 18, 2020

The lectures in the course were very interesting and informative. I learned new things and understood better things I knew.

The assignments where interesting and challenging enough.

I have two main comments though:

1. The feedback from other students is usually not very helpful. I put time and effort into my written feedback, but didn't get the same in return. I wish there was some way to get professional feedback

By Jose M R A

Sep 4, 2016

This is a great course for all-time beginners to learn about the most fundamental principles of design. It is not, however, so much a compelling course if you have any notion about design in general or color as it is as bare-bones as it can get. I have really liked the lectures though, and the projects, though they could have been a little bit more challenging, were good examples of a real-life practice.

By Kushal S

Dec 30, 2017

I am an under-grad (2015) in product design from Srishti Institute in Bangalore, India. Currently, a multi-disciplinary professional, I was seeking to clear my basics in graphic design; the course has definitely met this requirement of mine. I liked the simplicity of exercises - not demanding too much - allowing enough time to play around and develop good grip over each aspect of graphic design.

By Claudia J G

Sep 24, 2018

Great course! The professor was interesting to listen to, and I loved how hands-on it was. My only complaint, and this is probably more in regards to the system than the course itself, was that once you complete the required activity (Brief or Quiz) each week, you were automatically advanced to the next week, which made it difficult to watch and complete the "bonus" lessons.

By Lucas C

Jun 24, 2020

Good, quick intro to theory of graphic design. Clear and concise instruction. You should have some knowledge of drawing programs such as Adobe Illustrator. If you don't know it, prepare to spend some time on Youtube figuring out how to do some of the projects. This course would be much better if there were some instruction on how to create the images they ask you to create.

By Sabha S

May 20, 2021

I really enjoyed this course however it was not exactly as I had envisioned. Perhaps the issue was that I have taken few graphic design related classes before and this course is for absolute beginners. Therefore, if you have basic knowledge in graphic design and want to do more complex projects, I would recommend a much more advanced course. I still learned plenty though!

By Cameron G

Sep 27, 2021

You have to start somewhere. As someone who is pursing these certificates for resume purposes but has already done a substantial amount of Graphic Design I found this course to good to refresh some of the basic knowledge I already had but I wish the course dove a little bit deeper into more of the fundamentals. However, I did enjoy the typography week quite a bit.